Unit 6 Research Project

Unit 6:
Research Project

Unit code:

QCF level:

Credit value:


This unit aims to develop learners’ skills of independent enquiry and critical analysis by undertaking a sustained research investigation of direct relevance to their higher education programme and professional development.

Unit abstract

This unit is designed to develop learners’ understanding and confidence in the use of techniques and methods appropriate for research in health and social care. Learners will be expected to consider the elements that make up formal research, including the proposal, and methodologies. They will also action plan carry out the research and presenting their findings. Learners will also consider ethical aspects of formal research.

The topic of the research project is dependent on the learner’s focus of interest within the context of their programme of study and experience in health and social care, with due regard to ethical constraints of research in this sector. The unit gives learners the opportunity to draw together learning from several aspects of their study into a coherent holistic piece of work that makes a positive contribution to their area of interest. Learners should seek approval from their tutors before starting the study.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

1       Understand how to formulate a research specification

2     Be able to implement the research project within agreed procedures and to specification

3     Be able to evaluate the research outcomes

4       Be able to present the research outcomes.

BH023333 – Edexcel BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals specification in Health and Social Care –

Issue 1 – May 2010 © Edexcel Limited 2010


Unit content

1      Understand how to formulate a research specification

Types of research: qualitative; quantitative; tools for gathering primary data eg questionnaires, interviews; use of participants; sampling; validity; reliability eg variables and their control; resources; data storage; statistical techniques for data analysis eg distribution, statistical significance

Outline specifications of possible projects: aims and objectives; rationale for selection; literature review; hypothesis or research question; methodology for data collection and analysis; possible outcomes from suggested projects

Research project selection: critique of outline specifications eg scope, limitations; implications eg resources, ethical issues

 Key references: books; journals; internet

Research project specification: aims and objectives; rationale for their selection; hypothesis or research question; justification (through literature review, skills and knowledge to be gained, resource availability including time); methodology for gathering primary data and data analysis

Ethical considerations: codes of practice; relating to participants eg informed consent, confidentiality of data, right to withdraw; data storage; analysis; audience for reporting of project

Plan: overall strategy and duration; tasks with target dates; presentation of results; scheduled monitoring process; recording of amendments to plan

2      Be able to implement the research project within agreed procedures and to specification

Match resources: to agreed plan; terms of reference; hypothesis or research question; ethical boundaries

Implementation: according to approved research plan; test for validity eg pilot research tools; estimates for reliability

Data collection: selection of participants; selection of appropriate tools for data collection, eg question and questionnaire design, interview questions; systematic recording of data eg in transcripts; methodological problems eg bias, variables and their control, validity and reliability

BH023333 – Edexcel BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals specification in Health and Social Care

– Issue 1 – May 2010 © Edexcel Limited 2010


3      Be able to evaluate the research outcomes

Evaluation of outcomes: judgement of the success or failure of the planned project justified eg in relation to research plan, aims and objectives, evidence and findings, sources of error, validity, reliability of data collected; difficulties

Data analysis and interpretation: quantitative eg using specialist software, statistical techniques; qualitative eg interpreting transcripts; sources of error; bias; comparisons; trends; additional secondary research as required; extent to which hypothesis proved or disproved or research question answered; significance of research investigation to health and social care eg benefits, furthering understanding, application of research results; limitations of the investigation; conclusion(s)

Recommendations: for further development eg areas for further research, improvements, changes to practice

4      Be able to present the research outcomes

Format: professional delivery format appropriate to the audience eg oral presentation, written report; answering questions from audience on research project; use of academic referencing

BH023333 – Edexcel BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals specification in Health and Social Care –

Issue 1 – May 2010 © Edexcel Limited 2010


Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Learning outcomes
Assessment criteria for pass

On successful completion of
The learner can:

this unit a learner will:

LO1 Understand how to

formulate and record possible research project outline

formulate a research



identify the factors that contribute to the process of

research project selection

undertake a critical review of key references

produce a research project specification

provide an appropriate plan and procedures for the

agreed research specification

LO2 Be able to implement the

match resources efficiently to the research question or

research project within


agreed procedures and to

undertake the proposed research investigation in


accordance with the agreed specification and


record and collate relevant data where appropriate

LO3 Be able to evaluate the

use appropriate research evaluation techniques

research outcomes

interpret and analyse the results in terms of the original

research specification

make recommendations and justify areas for further


LO4 Be able to present the
use an agreed format and appropriate media to present

research outcomes

the outcomes of the research to an audience.

BH023333 – Edexcel BTEC Levels 4 and 5 Higher Nationals specification in Health and Social Care

– Issue 1 – May 2010 © Edexcel Limited 2010




This unit may be linked to one or more units in the programme, depending on the research topic undertaken.

This unit also has links with the National Occupational Standards in Health and Social Care. See Annexe B for mapping.

Essential requirements

It is advised that this unit is delivered longitudinally over a period of one year. The ethical issues that arise in health and social care research should be discussed in detail and should encompass aspects relating to protection of participants as well as data analysis and reporting of results. Learners should also be introduced to simple statistical analyses and selection of the appropriate method for presenting continuous and discontinuous statistical information, for example in tables, charts and graphs.

Although work-based experience may well generate ideas for research, any research carried out within a health or social care setting will require ethical approval from the relevant NHS strategic health authority. Any research carried out in a health or social care workplace may also depend upon the employed status of the learner in that setting.

The tutor should establish early on the employment and qualification status of individual learners and any constraints on research in their place of work that may apply. Every project in which the workplace is involved should have written consent consistent with the ethical guidelines of the workplace and the tutor should check that these are fully in place before any primary research commences.

The research proposal should contain detailed consideration of the ethical issues relating to the project. Evidence for learning outcome 2 should include evidence of small-scale piloting of the research tools to be used as a test for their validity and reliability.

Before approving projects, the tutor will need to establish that each learner has sufficient access to suitable resources to support their project proposal.

Employer engagement and vocational contexts

Engagement with health and social care employers would be beneficial for both learners who are employees and those on work placement in settings. An understanding of the broad assessment requirements, the unit could be shared with employer.

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